Category Archives: Online Resources

VRMA Trends: Q2 Rental Trends to Watch

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VRMA recently released its Q2 Vacation Rental Industry Trends for 2014, which focused on two new industry trends, as well as some nuances on trends already observed.

Consolidation
This was one of the new trends discussed in the quarterly review, but is certainly not a new concept in this segment of the hospitality industry.  HomeAway and TripAdvisor have been buying up smaller companies in the vacation rental space for years.  Their appetite for acquisitions is so insatiable that each company has its own page on Crunchbase dedicated to the topic. Continue reading

Survey Says: Top Vacation Rental Listing Sites

Listing Sites

As vacation rentals continue to grow as a vital segment of the travel and hospitality industries, it is important to gauge the feelings of rental owners and managers with regard to listing sites, that make it possible to showcase their properties to millions of travelers around the world.

In this vain, NeedMoreRentals.com carried out one of the largest independent surveys of holiday/vacation rental owners and managers relating to their use of popular listings sites.  The company surveyed 684 respondents in 47 countries.  Here are some of the finding from ‘Listings Sites – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’.

Which listing sites are used by survey respondents?

  • A total of 102 listing sites were noted for marketing their properties.
  • The leading sites by overall numbers were HomeAway.com, VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, HolidayLettings, Booking.com, OwnersDirect, HomeAwayUK and House Trip.

On which sites do advertisers not complete listings and why?

  • The leading sites for incomplete listings are Airbnb, HomeAway, OnlyApartments, Booking.com, HouseTrip and Wimdu.
  • The main reasons for unfinished listings are that they are time-consuming, can be complicated, they are not free, they do not integrate with an owners calendar, and there is no help to list multiple properties.

What are the biggest concerns about listing sites?

  • The most common concerns owners and managers have with listing sites are spiraling cost, lack of enquiries, hidden guest details, payment not being received until after the guests’ arrival, and the listing process being too time-consuming.

To learn which listing sites provide the best level of customer service, produce the most leads, and which sites are not recommended for vacation rental owners and managers, click here.

The Nine Commandments of the Digital World in Hotels

9 Commandments

The travel industry is notorious for hiring within the industry when it comes to filling top jobs, often promoting from within or from a rival company.

So when Accor, one of the world’s leading hotel operators, decided to hire Vivek Badrinath as its deputy CEO earlier this year, it raised a few eyebrows.  Many industry experts were intrigued to know what the senior executive from the world of mobile phone networks would make of a sector as fragmented and complicated as hotels.

Badrinath was speaking last week at the PhoCusWright Europe event in Dublin, Ireland, showing how some of his digital expertise could be applied to a diverse (in terms of brands) and, essentially, human-led corner of the industry.

Badrinath discussed some interesting ideas about how the classic hotel chain should be positioned to cater for the digitally savvy – and mobile-wielding – traveler.  He also gave event attendees his Nine Commandments of the Digital World for his new company.

Tnooz broke Accor’s nine commandments down, and gave some insight as to how they apply to hoteliers and property managers around the world.  Here is a small sampling: Continue reading

ADI Projects $61 Billion in Online Summer Travel Bookings

Social media
After a brutal winter and a bad case of cabin fever, it looks like Americans are ready to hit the road this summer.  Adobe Digital Index’s (ADI) “Travel 2014 Report” predicts that online travel bookings will reach $61 billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a 15% increase year-over-year.

The report is built on consumer data from Adobe Analytics brand sites from 2012 to 2014, and the sample information involved includes more than 33 billion visits to 1,300 branded travel websites.

ADI found that smartphone bookings are up a whopping 121% since January 2013.  During the same period, bookings via gaming consoles are up 60%, and tablet bookings are up 48%.

“Travel companies – online travel agencies, airlines, hotels – have done a much better job of extending the booking capability of their mobile applications and making their websites more mobile-friendly, which is increasing the amount of online bookings,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI.

Despite the growth of mobile devices within the travel industry, the PC still has the largest share of online bookings, taking in 86% of the share.  Tablets have the largest share of mobile-device bookings, at just 10%.

To read more about the more summer booking trends, and to read the full ADI Travel 2014 Report, click here.

Turning Hotel Initiatives Into Social Media Contests

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Social media plays a critical role in the way hotels and unique properties around the world market their product online.  These channels can be used as a mobile/online concierge, as a forum to discuss positive or negative experiences, or as a means to communicate with travelers before, during, and after they stay.

Advertising deals is another way that social media channels are used, but properties must be careful not to be selling hard at all times through these channels, as it will likely turn of traveler engagement.  Here are a few examples of properties that have turned social engagement into great ways to sell their deals and packages. Continue reading

Digital Ad Spending in Travel Jumps

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While some experts ponder whether Google is ready to make an even bigger splash in the travel industry, a recent eMarketer study highlighted a big reason why the search engine giant is content with its current role.  Digital ad spending by the US travel industry will reach $4.15 billion in 2014, a sharp increase over 2013’s numbers ($3.42 billion) that reflects the improving health of the overall US economy and rising profits in the industry. Continue reading

10 Things Every Hotel Website Must Have

ThingsHotelsMustHAve

Your hotel website gives potential travelers a chance to view the most important aspects of your property.  People are not going to visit your property before they stay to ensure it meets all of their needs.  Your property website needs to be able to attract leads and eventually help sell the deal that this is where a traveler should stay.

In order to attract potential guests to your website, you need to know what these individuals are looking for.  Noise, a New York City-based creative agency, was tasked with creating a list of the most important things all hotel websites must have.  Here is what they came up with. Continue reading

Clear Goals Key to Social Media Success

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The travel and hospitality industries have embraced social media channels in recent years as a means to communicate with potential travelers before, during, and after their travel experience.  However, if one tried and true lesson has emerged from all of this social media use, it is that hoteliers should not spread themselves too thin.

According to panelists at the seventh annual Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, the best way to ensure that you are not spreading yourself too thin is to have goals in place before testing the waters in any one social channel.

Examples of Setting/Reaching Goals
Mac Joseph, senior manager of social media marketing for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and one of the panelists at the conference, talked about his own company’s social media goals.

For the luxury hotel company, the aim is to generate awareness on a global scale while fostering meaningful engagement at the property level.  This is reflected in the company’s social media approaches:

  • Mandarin operates a single YouTube channel for the entire portfolio.
  • Individual properties employ Instagram accounts, which are easier to manage with finite resources.
  • Each hotel also has a presence on Google+, although Joseph admitted the network is more challenging. (“If nothing else, Google+ provides and ‘incredible’ boost to search engine optimization,” said Joseph.)

Loews Hotels & Resorts had a number of goals, according to director Piper Stevens, including but not limited to:

1) Establishing a more social culture on property
2) Creating buzz through integrated campaigns
3) Driving social commerce

The company took a look at the booking funnel to determine which channels would be the most appropriate.  You can see some of the steps taken on different social channels:

  • In the initial dreaming phase, inspiration often comes from sensory experiences such as photos or videos.  Loews responded with campaigns on Instagram and YouTube, among others, to spark that yearning for travel.
  • The company bolstered its efforts on TripAdvisor to make an impact in the researching stage.
  • For the actual booking, Loews was the first brand to introduce reservations on Twitter to make the process as painless as possible.
  • During and after the trip itself, Loews encourages guests to share their experiences via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, thus promoting inspiration for the next wave of travelers.

To read more about social media goals discussed at the EyeForTravel conference, click here.